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Chris Dawson prepares to face the verdict at Teacher’s Pet murder trial


Chris Dawson will learn on Tuesday if he is likely to die in jail or finally be free from a cloud of suspicion that has dogged his life. 

 At 10am, NSW Supreme Court judge Ian Harrison SC will enter court 13A at Queens Square in Sydney to convict or acquit Mr Dawson on the charge of murdering his first wife Lynette Joy Dawson in 1982.

On Sunday, as his old team Easts Rugby Union played in grand finals at Coogee Oval, Dawson sported a club shirt as he enjoyed a visit from his daughter Shanelle at his Sunshine Coast home in Queensland.

Both Dawson and his identical twin brother Paul played for Easts before switching to the Newtown Jets rugby league side in 1972.

Accused murderer Chris Dawson (above) at his Sunshine Coast home on Sunday as he prepares to fly to Sydney to hear the verdict on whether he is guilty or innocent of killing his first wife, Lynette

Accused murderer Chris Dawson (above) at his Sunshine Coast home on Sunday as he prepares to fly to Sydney to hear the verdict on whether he is guilty or innocent of killing his first wife, Lynette

The 74-year-old could die in jail if Justice Harrison convicts him of the 11982 murder of Lynette

Chris Dawson, wearing a football jersey from his old Easts Rugby team, will face the verdict on Tuesday

Chris Dawson, wearing a football shirt from his old Easts Rugby team, will face the verdict on Tuesday on whether he is guilty or innocent of his wife’s 1982 murder

Chris Dawson with his daughter in the 1970s, when he was married to first wife Lyne a few years before her mysterious 1982 disappearance

Chris Dawson with his daughter in the 1970s, when he was married to first wife Lyne a few years before her mysterious 1982 disappearance

 Justice Harrison, who conducted a judge-alone trial, may choose to pronounce Dawson’s innocence or guilt at the start of proceedings, or wait until he has gone though a lengthy summary of his reasons.

But at some point he will ask the 74-year-old to stand as His Honour reads out the words upon which Mr Dawson’s future depends.   

If the words are ‘not guilty’, he can leave the court and return home to Queensland and his third wife, Sue, if not to obscurity, to a semblance of peace.

It would be the first time he could reasonably shake off the legal monkey on his back since the first coroner in 2001 determined a ‘known person’, Mr Dawson, had killed Lynette

But if  Justice Harrison pronounces him guilty, Mr Dawson can expect to be handcuffed by NSW prison officers, taken down to the cells, put in a prison van  and ferried off to the vast Silverwater Correctional Complex in Sydney’s west, where he would be strip-searched, exchange his suit for prison greens and assigned a cell. 

Chris Dawson's daughter Shanelle - who was four years old when her mother vanished - showed her support by attending her father's Sunshine Coast home at the weekend before he meets his fate

Chris Dawson’s daughter Shanelle – who was four years old when her mother vanished – showed her support by attending her father’s Sunshine Coast home at the weekend before he meets his fate

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceived and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

Lynette Dawson (above with Shanelle) had found it hard to conceived and doted on her two daughters to Chris Dawson, who were four and two when she vanished in 1982

If found guilty, Mr Dawson – whose defence counsel say suffers from a fractured hip and and a possible brain injury sustained from his years playing rugby – could spend his declining years in prison, and die in jail.

The verdict will also prove momentous for the family of Lyn Dawson, who have invested so much time and effort in seeking justice for the 33-year-old mother of two young girls who seemingly vanished off the face of the earth on January 8 or 9, 1982.

 Lyn’s sister, Pat Jenkins, her brother, Greg Simms, and the missing woman’s niece Renee Simms and nephew David Jenkins have had their lives on hold for the 10-week trial, the seven weeks since as Justice Harrison has deliberated and, indeed, the empty decades since Lyn vanished.

Chris and Lynette Dawson (above) on their wedding day in 1970 when they appeared blissfully happy, but their marriage would hit the rocks when he took up with the teenage babysitter

Chris and Lynette Dawson (above) on their wedding day in 1970 when they appeared blissfully happy, but their marriage would hit the rocks when he took up with the teenage babysitter

His Easts supporter polo shirt is several years old, and if the weekend’s results were a portent of what is to come tomorrow, they weren’t conclusive.

Easts beat Sydney University in third grade, levelled with old rivals Randwick in an 13-all draw in the same division, and won 21-17 against Randwick in the first grade Colts.

 Daily Mail Australia understands Dawson is not a club member and hasn’t been to easts clubhouse since 2009.

Chris Dawson, 74, will either walk out a legally free man from court, or be taken in handcuffs to the cells and ferried off to Silverwater prison where he faces possibly dying in jail

Chris Dawson, 74, will either walk out a legally free man from court, or be taken in handcuffs to the cells and ferried off to Silverwater prison where he faces possibly dying in jail

Chris and Lynette Dawson were together for 17 years and married for twelve when she vanished seemingly off the face of the earth in January 1982 after his affair with a schoolgirl

Chris and Lynette Dawson were together for 17 years and married for twelve when she vanished seemingly off the face of the earth in January 1982 after his affair with a schoolgirl

The trial heard Chris Dawson was 'besotted ' with JC, the schoolgirl babysitter who became his second wife and testified at his trial about his controlling behaviour

The trial heard Chris Dawson was ‘besotted ‘ with JC, the schoolgirl babysitter who became his second wife and testified at his trial about his controlling behaviour

Mr Dawson’s eldest daughter Shanelle, who was four when her mother disappeared was pictured packing her car as she left his house on Sunday, after publicly revealing she still loves her dad.

Four years ago, Shanelle had broken down on national television, saying ‘It’s not looking good for my father, I will be honest to say’.

Chris Dawson was arrested and charged with Lyn Dawson’s murder in late 2018, pleaded not guilty to the charge and has always maintained his innocence.

Lynette Dawson’s disappearance from her Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches was the subject of the hit podcast, The Teacher’s Pet, which was played during the lengthy trial.

During the trial, crown prosecutor Craig Everson SC claimed Mr Dawson’s motivation for  murdering his first wife and disposing of her body was to have an ‘unfettered relationship’ with school student, known in court as JC, who became their teenage babysitter.

The family of Lynette Dawson has been asking for years about her disappearance and whatever the verdict on Tuedsay, they still hold out hopes of her remains being found

The family of Lynette Dawson has been asking for years about her disappearance and whatever the verdict on Tuedsay, they still hold out hopes of her remains being found

Chris Dawson and Lynette Simms as young sweethearts before their engagement and marriage which would culminate in her disappearance in 1982

Chris Dawson and Lynette Simms as young sweethearts before their engagement and marriage which would culminate in her disappearance in 1982 

The court heard that Mr Dawson, who was twice JC’s age, became utterly infatuated with her and conducted a sexual affair, eventually moving her into the family home after Lyn vanished. 

Lynette Dawson’s body has never been found and Mr Everson’s circumstantial case included that the accused had disposed of it during a ‘window of quiet seclusion’ sometime before or after meeting Lyn’s mother at the pool, and collecting JC from northern NSW.

The trial heard two separate allegations of Mr Dawson suggesting he hire a hitman to kill Lyn, one by a former Newtown Jets tream-mate and one by JC, who became his second wife.

JC told the court repeatedly Mr Dawson had ‘groomed’ her, then ‘installed’ her in the house and the marital bed, where she became ‘a sex slave’, as well as housekeeper and mother to his two daughters.

Lynette Dawson with Chris in the early years of their romance when she had fallen in love with the football star and they planned a life together which would be cut short in 1982

Lynette Dawson with Chris in the early years of their romance when she had fallen in love with the football star and they planned a life together which would be cut short in 1982

Lynette's two daughter Sherryn and Shanelle posed for photographs by a portrait artists who would produce charming drawings of the girls, only to discover that Lyn had vanished and Chris didn't want them

Lynette’s two daughter Sherryn and Shanelle posed for photographs by a portrait artists who would produce charming drawings of the girls, only to discover that Lyn had vanished and Chris didn’t want them

In the house were all of Lyn’s belongings, including wedding and engagement rings, clothes, eyewear and her nursing badges. 

Friends, colleagues, neighbours and an employee of Lynette Dawson testified they had seen her with bruises, heard her claim her husband had assaulted her, or witnessed him doing so.

Mr Dawson’s barrister, Pauline David, argued that the young mother had simply up and left and had gone away of her own free will, and was still alive after not contacting her mother or other family since January 1982.

Ms David cited five alleged sightings, in the Sydney suburb of at Gladesville, working at a  hospital, at a hotel near Lake Macquarie and crossing the road during Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ 1983 royal tour.

Ms David surmised Lyn Dawson could have ‘created a new life’, met with misadventure and since died, and even committed suicide. 

Whatever the verdict, Lyn Dawson’s family will not give up on finding her.

Nephew David Jenkins tweeted at the weekend, ‘After 40 years, on Tuesday we’ll find out whether the evidence against Lyn ‘s (accused) murderer was strong enough.

‘Either way, this isn’t over until we have Lyn home.’



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